US Company Wins No. 1 Sustainable Biofuel Award in Europe

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South San Francisco’s Solarzyme has just taken home the gold in the Sustainable Biofuels Technology category at the 2nd Annual Sustainable Biofuels Awards held in Amsterdam. The international awards offer companies from around the world the ability to showcase significant accomplishments in the biofuels industry.


Solarzyme’s accomplishment? The lowest greenhouse gas production of all biofuel companies worldwide.

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The company has many firsts to boast:

Since its beginnings in 2003,  Solayzme has produced the world’s first algal-based renewable diesel and the world’s first 100% algal-based jet fuel. It has also signed the largest production orders for commercial algae fuel contracts to date, supplying the U.S. Department of Defense with 21,500 gallons of fuel for Navy compatibility testing.

The company pioneered an unusual process, in that it makes algae indoors, without sunlight. CEO Harrison Dillon claims that their algae are 1000 times more efficient at producing oils from sugar compared to growth by sunlight. Distillation is an energy-intensive process, and by using cellulosic-ethanol processing – using sugars that are not part of the human food supply – with their algae processing, they avoid the use of fuels required for conversion and distillation of alcohol-based fuel.

Lower greenhouse gases than oil – and also lower than other biofuels:

In 2009, a field-to-wheels greenhouse gas life cycle test conducted by the Life Cycle Associates found that Solazyme’s algal biofuel, Soladiesel™, emits 85 to 93 percent less GHG emissions than standard petroleum based ultra-low sulfur diesel. But not just that.  It also found that its biofuels result in a significantly lower carbon footprint than any currently available first-generation biofuel as well.

Founded just 7 years ago in 2003 and headquartered in Silicon Valley, Solazyme’s unique technology allows algae to produce oil and bio materials in standard fermentation facilities quickly, efficiently and at large scale.

Solazyme’s fuels provide replacements for fossil fuels while being easily incorporated within existing transportation infrastructure, that would be costly to replicate. The darling of Silicon Valley investors  (Braemar Energy Ventures, Harris & Harris Group, Lightspeed Venture Partners, The Roda Group, and VantagePoint Venture Partners)  Solarzyme has been on top ten innovation lists for a while.

Source: The Mercury News

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